Reports | November 27, 2008 18:59

2nd Grand Slam Final & Candidates Tournament

Grand Slam Final and FIDE newsThe dates for the 2nd Bilbao Grand Slam Final have been announced: 2-15 September 2009. Meanwhile there are more details available about the planned FIDE Candidates Tournament. A wrap-up of this and other news.

The 2nd edition of the Grand Slam Masters Final has been announced. The first edition of the tournament, which was held in September this year in a glass cube at the Plaza Nueva in Bilbao, was won by Veselin Topalov. For the second edition the organizers changed the name from "Final Masters" to the more common "Masters Final":

The 2nd edition of the Gland Slam Masters Final will be played in Bilbao, September 2-15th 2009. The winners of Corus-Wijk aan Zee, Ciudad de Linares and Mtel Masters-Sofia tournaments will qualify directly for the Masters Final in Bilbao, where the first edition (played at a central square, inside a glass cube) was a very big success last September.

More details on the 2009 tournament (number of players, system of play, etc) will be announced at the end of the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee. The Grand Slam is in negotiations to include one more high level tournament in the 2009 circuit.

Grand Slam Chess Association (GSCA),
Dresden, 23 November 2008

Candidates Tournament
November 17-19 the FIDE General Assembly of the 79th FIDE Congress was held. Unfortunately the full minutes have not been published yet, so we'll have to make do with a summary by FIDE Public Relations and Marketing Director Peter Rajcsanyi published at the FIDE website.

To the delegates Kirsan Ilyumzhinov apparently "emphasized growing interest of the media toward chess events in year 2008 and their good coverage" - we'll take that as a compliment. ;-) About the planned Candidate Tournament, announced by Ilyumzhinov earlier this week, Rajcsanyi writes:

Under changing circumstances, FIDE devotes special attention to secure the organization of planned events: first of all the World Chess Championship cycle events. Having noted the difficulties that arose in connection with the Grand Prix event scheduled for December 2008 in Doha and in order to eliminate future uncertainties, the GA decided to strengthen the World Championship cycle and its finances.

It approved a Candidates tournament in which two players are from the ongoing Grand Prix series, two players as finalists of World Cup 2009, the defeated player from the World Championship match 2009, the defeated player from the Challenge Match 2009, the highest rated player provided that he is one of the top six players based on the rating list, and the player nominated by the organizer with a rating above 2700) in two formats for the organizer to choose from: a./ an eight-player round robin tournament or b./ knock-out matches of four games for the first and semifinal rounds, respectively and six games in the final match.

The winner under either format will be the challenger for the world championship match scheduled in September 2011. Full regulations will be drawn up by the FIDE World Championship Committee. The bidding process will open on the 1st of December, 2008 and will close on 31st January, 2009.

In an interview with Yuri Vasiliev published at the Sport-Express website, Ilyumzhinov gives some more details about the Candidates Tournament:

  • "The organizing country should transfer one million euro prize fund for the tournament."
  • "Vladimir Kramnik could be nominated by organisers as a participant in the Candidates Tournament in case the event will be held in Russia."

Zero default time
At the 38th Olympiad a number of new rules were applied, including the 30-move rule for preventing short draws and the match points as first tiebreak rule. But it was the zero default time that has led to a heated debate. Chief arbiter Ignatius Leong stated that only four players were forfeited during the Oympiad but this is clearly not true; many others have reported at least ten forfeits. In the last round a Gabon player arrived in time, went to the toilet or for a coffee and came back to see that he was forfeited in the mean time. More of such examples are known, and it's a shame. Unfortunately it's still unclear whether the zero default time will be included in the Laws of Chess:

Beyond the usual administrative matters, during the Congress, more attention was given to the recommendations of the Rules Committee regarding the Laws of Chess where several changes were suggested including zero default time for games in all events. The recommendations of many Commissions have been approved by the GA and some are to be studied further and may be finalized by the next Presidential Board meeting.

But in the Sport-Express interview Ilyumzhinov seems to be quite serious. It now becomes clear why: according to the FIDE President chess doesn't stand a chance to become an Olympic sport as long as players are allowed to arrive late for their game:

"Do you remember the Olympics in Calvia and Turin, where during the first minute the playing halls were not filled? Until now, with shame I remember how during the world championship match in Lausanne, on January 2, 1998, IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch was waiting to start the clock in the first game Karpov-Anand. Anatoly Evgenyevich was ten minutes late. And Samaranch asked me: 'You say, chess ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú sports?' I did not know what to say!"

2012 Olympiad: Istanbul
The next Olympiad (2010) will be in Khanty-Mansiysk and in Dresden it became clear that in four years we'll be going to Istanbul again, twelve years after the Olympiad in 2000 that was also held in Istanbul.

After the presentations of the Turkish Chess Federation and the Montenegro Chess Federation on organizing the 2012 Chess Olympiad in Istanbul and Budva respectively, the delegates voted for Istanbul.

In a press release the Turkish Federation already mentioned some details about budget and sponsors:

The main sponsor of the TCF, ?Ѭ??Ö?? Bank is giving its full support as ever but also there will be other sponsors for the 2012 Chess Olympiad. The Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul, The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, Istanbul Congress and Visitors Bureau are the other major sponsors.

The minimum planned budget is announced as the 7.5?¢‚Äö¬¨ million but it is planned to be increased gradually. According to the legislation of Turkey, there will be special institution named for the Chess Olympiad 2012 which is going to be led by the State Minister himself as stated in his warranty letter.

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


Bartleby's picture

Agreed, the one-hour rule doesn't make much sense at the professional level.
But it is very useful for all the little tournament organizers at the amateur level, because you don't have to deal with myriads of excuses, some legitmitate, some not so. Next week our team is going to play a regional league game in a remote village 100 kilometers away, there may be snow. The one-hour rule allows for just this kind of situation. With zero default time in place, we would have to go an hour early, maybe have to spend this hour in the middle of nowhere waiting for our hosts, or risk being defaulted, or at least discussions and protest, if we arrive late.
The rules of chess are for all chess players, at all levels. FIDE and the organizers of pro tournaments can enforce zero default time for their tournaments, that would be no big deal. But why put it in the rules?

Sutton's picture

My clock is ticking. I'm psyching myself up. I'm getting a tea and some biscuits. I arrive a few minutes late...whats the big fuss?

Thomas's picture

The players have to be there in time...where is the problem. Everything else is ridiculous and annoying for all people involved. I applaud the FIDE for that.

David Korn, Seattle's picture

Peter, you are always first, and certainly always the best. Keep up the great work. Now is a Ford, and you are Audi or Porsche. Warmest, dk

Manu's picture

Yep , great great work indeed ,thx.
(although bad , bad news in this case)

ChessGirl's picture

I agree, this is my favorite chess site, very close to people

me's picture

Abolishing the "one hour late" rule is the only smart thing FIDE has done in last 10 years.

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